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Will London Bridge Flotation-Rule Gap?

The U.K. organization representing private equity firms is urging the Financial Services Authority to give buyout firms more leeway in listing or they’ll take their business somewhere else.

The U.K. organization representing private equity firms is urging the Financial Services Authority to give buyout firms more leeway in listing or they’ll take their business somewhere else. Depending which way the FSA goes, according to Financial News, p.e. firms may continue the trend begun by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Apollo Management and float on Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange rather than on the London Stock Exchange. Right now, as it seeks comment for proposed changes, the FSA is considering lifting its passive-investor requirement, but the British Venture Capital Association is not sitting back and waiting for the final rules to be issued –not expected before the first quarter of 2007– and is pushing the regulator to give p.e firms a more active role, which involves naming board member and acquiring controlling stakes in portfolio companies. “If the FSA could change its rules by January, “ attorney Simon Witney of London-based law firm SJ Berwin and a BVCA committee member said, “I don’t think it will present a big problem – and it would be unrealistic to expect anything sooner.” Waiting until the first quarter, however, may be costly for the LSE, as Texas Pacific Group, CVC Capital Partners and Apex are said to be considering a listing, reports FN, citing industry observers.

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